ReMix: Seiken Densetsu 3 "At First Innocence" 4:45

By zykO

Artist Links
Arranging the music of one song...

"Innocent Sea"

Primary Game: Seiken Densetsu 3 (Square, 1995, SNES), music by Hiroki Kikuta

Posted 2006-12-10, evaluated by the judges panel


This one caused a bit of a ruckus on the panel: feelings were hurt, tempers were raised, and yes, lives were lost. Well, that's a slight exaggeration, perhaps, but zyko's latest SD3 mix generated some concern about guitar tuning, or lack thereof, which resonated differently with different folk. It's definitely a legitimate observation - it doesn't take perfect pitch to notice the lack of subscription to Pythagorean purity. This bothers some people terribly and others could care less; as someone who's got a fondness for The Clash, The Velvet Underground, and The Strokes, I personally am willing to accept all manner of imperfections as part of an artist's intentional aesthetic, whether it be a consistent "sound" or an approach to a specific track. In other words, even on headphones, zyko's tuning on this track didn't bug me... much.

So, let's talk about the track itself, outside of scandalous tuning buzz; the feel here places more emphasis on atmosphere than zyko's usually action-packed jams. This is a slower, more ambient affair, with a really interesting pan flute performance that's intentionally tentative and punctuated when playing solo, but legato during harmony passages. Layered acoustic guitar drives the piece, however, with a smattering of repeated arpeggio, solo melody, and quickly repeated strumming of a single note for that mysterious dulcimeresque effect. There are male and female choral elements that come in selectively; some sound like samples, others sound like they may be Waleed himself, but they're tasetfully applied in either case. Percussion stays out of the way for the most part, but what's there is good. There's a curious bit of what sounds like electric wah guitar at 2'54" that disappears before it becomes a fully-realized part; peculiar arrangement decision, but certainly adds more unique character to a piece that already has a lot. Someone mentioned that the guitar tuning gives it a bit of an "Old West" feel, akin to the traditional detuning of a saloon piano. I see that; ultimately, I think the tuning should still have been a little cleaner than it turned out. Not pristine by a long shot, but there's a couple moments where it crosses my internal atmosphere threshold into problematic waters. Nevertheless, Weed had a vision here, and its unique realization, if troubling in some ways, is transporting and creative in far more.

djpretzel

Discussion

Latest 15 comments/reviews; view the complete thread or post your own.
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WillRock
on 2011-06-21 13:25:22

Seems to me that regarding tuning, everyone hears it differently. I know people who can't hear out of tune stuff as well as others, and people who like this don't seem to hear tuning problems that strongly compared to some people. For me personally however, the tuning is way too bad for me to enjoy this mix, intentional or not. Sorry dude :(

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SwordBreaker
on 2010-03-17 13:19:34

This is such a magical remix. Ever since I heard the DoD version...it just clicked with me. I just don't see what's all the hub-bub is about with nitpicking on the "out of tune" guitar, it's not like it's the center of the song. The ethnic atmosphere that this mix provides is just so calming, even the intentionally "untuned" guitars fit so well with the emotion conveyed. I especially love the flutes and subtle vocal chants. The arrangement and instrumentation are executed so well. I'm glad zyko didn't change a damn thing about this piece and stood his ground. Can't imagine listening to it any other way. One of your best works, man. Now submit "Rime of a Wandering Seafarer" already!!

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OA
on 2010-02-25 15:03:07

The tuning issues on this completely ruin what eventually turns into a great arrangement. Sad. :-(

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42
on 2009-12-30 23:15:20

This feels like an not-quite-but-almost finished concept ethnic piece. The overall general feel to this is odd; I can't quite place my finger on any specific mood or atmospheric aspect. It does have a Western feel to it, the whistle is reminiscent of The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly, the wind effects feel like some open prairie, the guitars feel like casual cowboy guitar strumming. I think I like this mix because of its uniqueness and its odd casualness. I also recommend this because to find something else like it would be a rare find.

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ella guro
on 2009-11-18 18:28:31

The part at around 3:45 where everything sounds like it's gonna fall apart and then sort of falls back in place is really, really cool. I feel like a lot of mixes are so tightly controlled that they give up the ability to ebb and flow like that. Moments like that make the whole mix a lot more affecting in the end.

I also can't say why the kinda cheesy and unprocessed music box and pan flute samples work, but I think they do. Putting lots of reverb or other kind processing on them might take away from the kind of ramshackle vibe created by the detuned guitar. I think Nobbynob is right that they could probably use a little volume fluctuation, though.

Great mix! I hope the controversy about this mix in the panel hasn't discouraged zyko or others from submitting more stuff like this.

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Matt E. Waldman
on 2009-08-11 17:28:26

A few years back, I was introduced to Seiken Densetsu 3 thanks to rom translators! Now, thanks to my very small patience and my lack of skill in RPGs, I didn't get very far into it. However, there's always something that I loved about it; the artstyle and the music. My favorite track was always Innocent Sea/Water(same melody for both).

Anyways, upon listening to the game's soundtrack again, I decided to see on here if there was a mix available for this track. So I chose this one at random.

Firstly, the instrumentation is absolutely beautiful. The big guitar ensemble coupled with the voice harmonies, flutes, and drums lend very well to each other, and the result is a masterful mixture of something that is very pleasing to the ears. Not only that, but the arrangement is great as well. I love the little touches you added in to create more ambience.

The only issue I'm having is that the mixing is a little too hot. Otherwise, everything's fine.

Overall, awesome job at mixing one of my favorite pieces from Seiken Densetsu 3! Keep it up! :)

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zykO
on 2007-03-21 04:12:18

However, I think there are some improvements that can be made. For example, the music box and flute seem to always be at either 0% or 100% volume. Binary. On/off. I'd say that the flute could benefit greatly from some fades in and out, and the music box - well, you can't exactly make it do anything but go "ding!", but you can make it vary in how hard it dings.

For example, at 1'03-1'05 there are three dings. Up... down up... Try putting those notes at, say, 100%, 20%, 60% volume.

A nice detail would be to have each note - Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si - with a seperate volume, so whenever it hits that note it is always muted to the same point, like a worn-out old music box.

that is quite profound. my genuine thanks

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Nobbynob Littlun
on 2007-03-20 00:37:26

In the tea houses of Zen Monasteries, one will find that decorations are appreciated for their imperfections. Part of it is that it gives stuff more character... that it is a more accurate reflection of life and living... there's just something about it.

This song immediately gained a special place on my playlists, for much the same reason.

However, I think there are some improvements that can be made. For example, the music box and flute seem to always be at either 0% or 100% volume. Binary. On/off. I'd say that the flute could benefit greatly from some fades in and out, and the music box - well, you can't exactly make it do anything but go "ding!", but you can make it vary in how hard it dings.

For example, at 1'03-1'05 there are three dings. Up... down up... Try putting those notes at, say, 100%, 20%, 60% volume.

A nice detail would be to have each note - Do, Re, Mi, Fa, Sol, La, Si - with a seperate volume, so whenever it hits that note it is always muted to the same point, like a worn-out old music box.

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Darklink42
on 2007-02-14 19:50:17

I was listening to this song again on my head phones, and I noticed somethign that I didn't before so I thought I'd send out a second post. I still stand on my old opinion that the flute detracts a little because the notes are short, but I noticed that there are also vocals in there too. And in that regard, this song has jsut shot up to one of my favorites. For some reason, the vocals underneath seem to blend in really well and I like them a lot. On top of that, it adds a very personal touch that makes the song more powerful.

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NegaNova
on 2007-01-17 18:47:12

I have very little problem with this piece. The guitar sound is beautifully done, and to tell you the truth I like the minimal flute that is playn. It's not so much the minimal tune that the flute actually plays, but more the mood that it sets for the rest of the song. It's like you are actually in this secret fantasy world that the song plays for, and over-all it is a very well-done remix. It sounds like you've put quite a bit of effort into it.

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viewtyjoe
on 2007-01-11 03:26:16

Frankly, the guitar doesn't bother me, and I'm one of those people who'll cringe when things are out of tune. I swear there's reasoning between the differences in pitch between strings.

Outside of the interesting guitar line, the flute sample kills those first 5 seconds for me. If it weren't for the fact that I know some good guitar work was coming in the next 10 seconds, I'd probably have to stop the song.

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Martin Penwald
on 2006-12-25 14:55:05

When I listened to it the first time, I didn't really like it. Which is why I always give a mix several chances, and this time, it really paid off. This song sounds like something you would hear somewhere in the Andes mountains, in some long forgotten ruin of an ancient temple. Very thick atmosphere; I especially dig the flute.

The ending, however, was a bit lame; it just faded out, and it did so too fast. Though I have to admit that I have no better idea...

I dig this. I really do.

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Fishy
on 2006-12-16 16:06:15

Even though I'm fully aware that its out of tune, it really doesn't sound so to my ears. It really gels into the style. Really enjoyable mix, very creative style, but would we expect anything from zyko? Not at all familiar with the original so I can't really comment on arrangement.

I can see why some of the judges would have had a problem with it, (and the fact that the remixer can post in his own decision thread isn't exactly normal), but I'm glad I got to listen to it. Great stuff.

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Darklink42
on 2006-12-15 01:34:29

I hear what people are talking about, but I'm not feeling the hate. I don't think it's too detrimental to the overall sound of the song. If anything, I had a problem with the short wooden flute notes. I could hear what was being attempted at times, but then I would get annoyed by it again. I felt like there should have been a little fade in the notes. That would make it blend better, and the notes wouldn't end so abruptly.

The un-tuned guitar is far enough into the background that it doesn't annoy me, unless I'm listening for it. And even then it's not too bad. Overall, I'm liking it.

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Fawriel
on 2006-12-14 09:36:59

hello first review yayay okay

I won't be reading all those reviews before this one, although I did catch that many don't like the song, and I can see why.

Personally, I love it.

At the first listen, I was confused and apalled, then I told myself to sit up straight and close my eyes and actually listen, and it almost brought tears to my eyes.

It seems like one of the usual RPG remix ballads with pretty sounds and pan flutes and choirs. But it isn't in my eyes. It seems desperate, not cozily sad or so. The song it remixes is called Innocent Sea. When I hear this, I imagine cold, hungry people sitting in a small boat drifting aimlessly across a dark lake. The instruments are shivering. It's as if they're played by people whose hands are too frozen to time the music perfectly. This music made by the forsaken people on the boat mixes with the music of the sea itself... and basically it's all very depressing and goosebumps-inducing.

Short version: 3

Sources Arranged (1 Song)


Primary Game:
Seiken Densetsu 3 (Square, 1995, SNES)
Music by Hiroki Kikuta
Songs:
"Innocent Sea"

Tags (4)


Genre:
Mood:
Instrumentation:
Acoustic Guitar, Synth, Vocals: Male, Woodwinds
Additional:

File Information


Name:
Seiken_Densetsu_3_At_First_Innocence_OC_ReMix.mp3
Size:
6,137,965 bytes
MD5:
05496aecb6c05e37da3abb1b096fcc54
Bitrate:
169Kbps
Duration:
4:45

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